Ever since moving to Barcelona, Tony and I have talked about how there are just so many places we want to visit and also how almost every city is worth visiting for at least a day or two (the same goes for the states!). So when I started planning my latest trip, I used Skyscanner’s fly anywhere feature, put in my desired travel dates, and 30€ later had a round trip ticket to Turin, Italy.
I spent a little over three days in Turin doing a mixture of work and play, but if I had to cram all of my favorites into a one day Turin tour, it would look exactly like this:
Caffe Al Bicerin
Start your perfect day in Turin at 8:30AM with the most expensive cup of coffee I’ve found thus far in Europe (no, I’ve not yet been to Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, or England). At Caffe Al Bicerin you will order the restaurant’s namesake – a traditional Italian drink of the Piedmont region which includes a layer of drinking chocolate, a layer of espresso, and a layer of cold, heavy sweet cream. Drink it as delivered without stirring, and let the flavors and temperatures mix in your mouth! This was 6€ so well spent that I went two mornings in a row. No regrets.
Once you’ve finished your sugary delight (and a croissant – with jam or nutella – too), head off towards the Mole Antonelliana.
Porta Palazzo Market
Along the way take a short detour to mosey through the Piazza della Repubblica, which houses one of the largest open air markets in all of Europe (except on Sunday when it’s replaced with a flea market). From what I saw, here you can buy cell phone cases, soap, clothes, rugs, purses, perfume, makeup, underwear, selfie sticks, sunglasses, hats, watches, cheese, produce, meat, yarn, cat food, dog food, flowers, lingerie, towels, deodorant, hair spray, jewelry, shoes, candy, and I’m sure plenty of other items that I missed.
Don’t stay away, but while you wander, keep an eye on your belongings since pickpockets love a crowd.
Of course Turin has Roman ruins. Since it’s right on your way, snap a quick picture of the Porta Palantine, an incredibly well preserved Roman Gate from the first century.
Ah, you’ve finally made it to the Mole Antonelliana. Turin’s Cinema Museum is well known for its glass elevator ride which provides passengers panoramic city views. The cost for the elevator ride is 7€, the museum entrance is 10€, or the cost for both is 14€. Now, I’m normally not much for museums, but the cinema museum was actually awesome. I only spent a couple of hours inside, but could have spent many more.
In my opinion the panoramic elevator isn’t worth it. Yes, it’s only 4€ in addition to the museum entrance fee, but it’ll cost you at least 45 minutes of wait time (there’s a line to ascend and descend!). The views are fine, but in my opinion the views from the hike you’ll go on this afternoon are better – and they’re free!
Eataly is a food concept that has spread from Italy to the rest of Europe and to the New World as well, and you can visit the original just outside of Turin’s city center. Though I’m sure the Italians would lynch me for saying it, my feeling is that Eataly is a combination between a very upscale Whole Foods and a Costco.
Inside the huge grocery store you can sample a number of products that are then available for purchase, but to complete your purchase, you’ll need to be willing to part with a substantial number of euros – the chocolate bars I considered ranged from 4€ to 20€.
The best part about Eataly, however, and the reason for your trip, is the restaurants! Choose from one of a number of different sit down options each with its own specialty. For dessert head to the gelato and patisserie section and/or grab another coffee like a local.
To get to Eataly, hop on the 18 bus just a few blocks from the Cinema Museum and you’ll be dropped off just a couple minute walk from the entrance.
Your afternoon will be spent wandering, so make sure you leave your accommodations in the morning wearing your walking shoes. Head to the Po river and stroll north through the gorgeous and spacious Valentino park.
Make sure to check out the Borgo Medievalo or Medieval castle, which was built for the 1884 Turin Expo, as well as the Castle of Valentino. As you meander, enjoy the gorgeous views of the Po River, a refreshment or gelato at one of the numerous cafes, or even just a simple spot of grass.
Mote Dei Cappuccini
Once you’ve had your fill of Valentino Park, you’re off to enjoy the skyline view from a lookout point much closer and easier to access than the Basilica of Superga. To get to Monte Dei Cappuccini continue along the Po to the Ponte Umberto I bridge, cross the river, and head up the hill to the Santa Maria del Monte church. Here’s a taste of your reward:
(If it’s a really clear day you’ll have an even better view all of the way to the snowcapped mountains in the distance!)
Aperitivo and Dinner
Depending on timing and your hunger level after descending Monte Dei Cappuccini, you have a couple of options for what to do next:
Aperitivo starts at 6PM and during Aperitivo you can essentially have dinner for not much more than the cost of a drink. If you’re on a tight budget, head to La Drogheria on the beautiful Piazza Vittorio Veneto and grab a drink and your fill of aperitivo snacks. Your first drink will be 9€ and any subsequent drink purchases will be normal priced (my wine was 4€).
If you have the time, money (it’s really cheap, actually!), and stomach capacity, also head to Piola Da Cianci. This has been my favorite pasta in Italy thus far and the pasta course will run you an easy 5€. Add a bit of wine and your bill will still run you less than 10€. The pasta course is hardly enough for a complete dinner, but with aperitivo or one additional course, you should be all set!
If you’re not totally wiped from the day and you’re looking for some nightlife, spend the evening bar hopping throughout the San Salvario district before you hit the hay.
If you’re looking for the walking and metro maps, here they are:
Walking directions from Caffe al Bicerin to Mole Antonelliana: https://goo.gl/maps/x1ssJtAyu6n
Bus from Mole Antonelliana to Eataly: https://goo.gl/maps/KJq3MRp7JKq
Walking directions from Eataly to Piola Da Cianci: https://goo.gl/maps/GWF6oj3ozCt